I have some news. Big news. Life altering news.
I’ve been waiting years to write this: “Today I hung up my wings for good.”
Well, today (I wrote this last Friday) I hung up my wings that took me around the world for a bit over four years. Straight out of college, a fresh 22-years-young, I flew to Miami with no other previous life experience besides the college newspaper and volunteer work to begin what would become a roller coaster of a lifestyle.
From then on I would travel the world from one side of the pond to the other. From one language barrier to the other. I would experience life quicker and deeper than I ever could have imagined. I will always remember the days of lavish living in Thailand’s resort and the days of skipping around in a teeny tiny bikini on the rocky shore of Sorrento. All night dancing sessions in Hungary and Morocco. Carnival in Spain. Or even just hanging out in the TV room in our home-away-from-home, Germany.
Most importantly, I won’t forget you, dear friend, for our time together either in the metal tube 30,000 ft. up in the sky or on a layover together in the sun. We all knew it was my time to hang up my wings.
So, how and why did this all go on today? Didn’t I just finish recurrent? A fact that I am still chuckling at, but yes, I did and for every second I was there I was the most miserable. You know I have always been very honest about my love-hate relationship of this career/lifestyle. So you may know that for years now I have been wanting to leave. But as in stay, at home, in one place, on the ground. Every year I would say, “man, I better not be here for next recurrent…” and would you believe it, there I would be. And there are many reasons why this would keep happening to me every year. I’ll outline them:
- I still liked the job. In some way year after year I still liked the job as a flight attendant. It takes a certain person to be in this field- an adventurous spirit, a service oriented attitude, and an infinite amount of flexibility. I appreciated my guests and couldn’t have asked for better ones in the world.
- It’s an addiction. It’s a constant, “oh maybe I’ll get a better trip next week” after working 20+ hour days straight. I truly believe I have only had two “Addictions” in my life (yes, I’m saying this loosely): soda and this job. The thing about both of these is that after awhile, they’re going to do some serious damage to your life.
- It’s easy. Flight attendants always say, “this is the easiest hardest job there could ever be!” And it’s true! I say the same thing every flight, “chicken or pasta” over and over again, wait 8 hours, and then done- finito. Shoot, I even got nap time and free food. But my GOD, are those days also not some of the hardest days of your life sometimes. They don’t tell you this at training but you will have some of the worst days at this job and it’s not because of the guests, it’s because of how shit’s run.
- It’s scary to move on. All of the previously mentioned things mean that this is such a terrifying job to leave. What do you mean I won’t be able to spend time in Italy next week? You mean a new job isn’t going to give me 11 days off a month? What if I regret it?
This is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. My life has been flying for four years and before that all I ever wanted was to travel and explore the world. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities these years and this lifestyle gave me. I have completed some of the most monumental highlights because of the flexibility, airfare miles, and relationships I have made because of this job.
I backpacked Peru, explored Tulum, road-tripped through New Zealand and Iceland, and found some solitude in Belize and Costa Rica. I discovered my true passion is our environment and protecting Mother Earth. I met the guy I’m going to spend the rest of my life with! I grew up!
I don’t know what’s next. I know it is going to be very, very hard. It’s going to be very difficult to not travel whenever I want, to be land-locked for a little while, to be broke (let’s be real), but it is going to be such a beautiful experience of change. I can be home. I can look forward to the future without looking at my calendar and counting the days until “they can use me again.” I can be a life partner that isn’t always gone, a daughter that doesn’t worry her mother as much, a committed non-contradictory friend to this environment. I can be free and I can be any single damn thing that I want.
So what do I want?
One of the reasons I’m writing this at 2 AM is because I’ve been thinking about this question non stop all evening. What do I want now that I’m not an international flight attendant? This part is going to sound so silly, but one of the main things that I want is to wear every single thing that is in my wardrobe. I’m excited to live out of an actual closet and not a suitcase right now! But other than that, I don’t have any other plans. I never, ever, ever believed I would quit a job without anything lined up. But this is the biggest thing I realized today:
If I never took this step…I would never go anywhere.
Because I didn’t take the step two years ago and I went to another recurrent. I didn’t take the step last year and I made it to another recurrent. And with every progressing month that I continued to fly, I felt my life slipping away. I felt my optimism, my spirit, my faith, my tenacity for life slowly drift away.
But I am a human being. I am a living, breathing, 26 year old, now non-employed human being that feels the most powerful, the most dynamic, the absolute strongest she has felt in a very long time.
Okay, don’t get me wrong. Tomorrow is going to be very rough- I mean…how does a girl find a job nowadays? And a job quick? And in a couple days when reality really hits I might even begin to question it. But hopefully I can just refer back to this post and remember the how and the why. And I can remember that for once in SUCH a long time I am so genuinely excited to look to forward again.
There is still so much more I wish I could write. I wish I could write more of my experience these past four years, the great and the ugly. But for now this is all I wanted to say. These past four years have been everything I needed them to be and for that I am grateful.
Fly safe, my friends.